Lancet Examines Efficacy of Viacom, Kaiser Family Foundation ‘KNOW HIV/AIDS’ Campaign
The April 26 issue of the Lancet includes a feature article on the effectiveness of the year-long "KNOW HIV/AIDS" awareness campaign sponsored by the Kaiser Family Foundation and Viacom, the world's largest media group (Tannen, Lancet, 4/26). The campaign, which was launched in January, is aimed at raising HIV/AIDS awareness through public service announcements, television and radio programming and free print and online content. The campaign, which has a total ad placement value of $120 million, is targeted at both the general population and groups hardest hit by HIV/AIDS, such as people under age 25, minorities, women and men who have sex with men. The initiative has already created 49 television, radio and outdoor ads that are appearing on Viacom's television networks CBS and UPN and 200 affiliates; cable outlets MTV, BET, VH1, CMT, MTV2, TV Land, Nickelodeon, Nick at Nite, Showtime, TNN and Comedy Central; more than 180 Infinity radio stations; and on billboards, buses and bus shelters (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/14). According to the Lancet, health messages "slipped into the storylines of sitcoms, soap operas and police dramas" could be "very effective" in spreading the message of HIV prevention. Peter Graves, president of Cinemarket, a consulting firm that markets films and television shows, said, "Weaving social messages into the fabric of cultural programming on a repeated basis is undoubtedly one of the best ways to get the message across," adding, "It's all about emulative behavior. In terms of cultural shifts, it's far more effective than just a single created advertisement message or public service announcement, although these more direct, straightforward messages can definitely help to further underscore and focus the desired message." Matt James, senior vice president for media and public education for the Kaiser Family Foundation, said, "Public education is never just a one-time thing. By themselves, whether it's a billboard, a public service announcement, a storyline, it's not enough to educate the public and raise awareness," adding, "You have to come at them from multiple venues. If you don't have these tools, the information simply won't stick" (Lancet, 4/26).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.